Kenenisa Bekele Makes Triumphant Return to 2016 Berlin Marathon

Kenenisa Bekele crosses the line to win the 2016 Berlin Marathon on Sunday, September 25th, 2016. (Getty)



Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele emerged victorious in a battle for the ages with Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang during the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. His winning time of 2:03:03 was an Ethiopian record and the second fastest time in history on a record-eligible course.

Bekele took command of the race entering the final kilometre, surging away from former world record holder Kipsang to take his first victory in Berlin, smashing Haile Gebrselassie’s Ethiopian record of 2:03:59 in the process.

In mild, calm conditions in the German capital, the pace was blistering from the outset. A 5km split of 14:20 was the kind of tempo to take them across the finishing line close to the magical barrier of the sub-two-hour marathon. Unsuprisingly the pace slowed, but at halfway with the pacemakers having made an early exit several kilometres previously, the lead group of eight was timed at 61:11, which still put them inside the world record schedule of Dennis Kimetto, who had run 2:02:57 in Berlin in 2014…

The 5000m and 10,000m world record holder steadily reeled in his target over the kilometres that followed, clocking off consistent splits and running alongside Kipsang at the 40km mark before unleashing his decisive move. Bekele changed gears impressively with just over a kilometre to run, a move Kipsang simply couldn’t match.

With nothing but the clock left to race, the 34-year-old Ethiopian powered up the home straight in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate, but fell just short in his bid to break the world record of 2:02:57.

Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele during the 2016 Berlin Marathon ( Copyright

“I wanted to run my personal best here,” said Bekele. “The time was fantastic. I’m so happy to have broken the Ethiopian record of Haile Gebrselassie, but I’m a little disappointed as well, since I didn’t break the world record. But I hope I can come back here again and get a second chance. Towards the end of the race I had a few problems with my hamstrings but otherwise it was okay.”

Read more »

Ethiopia’s Bekele nears record as he wins Berlin marathon (AFP)
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